The Story Behind Play for CURE at Gymboree

We first met Sophia at Gymboree before anyone knew that she had cancer.  She had a bright, infectious laugh and a warm smile.  Through all the treatments and all the indignities, she never lost her enthusiasm for life and taught us all some valuable lessons about character.  The events that will be held on August 15, (Play for CURE at Gymboree) are dedicated to her memory.

One Family’s Story, A Note from Sophia’s mother, Shirley Langford:

Nobody would expect his or her two-year-old child to be diagnosed with cancer. We were in the process of enjoying our summer when our daughter, Sophia, was diagnosed with brain cancer. We had no idea that a monster grew inside her head while she excitedly helped us plan for her third birthday party at Gymboree. A few months before her third birthday, we received the devastating diagnosis. Twenty months later, our brave little girl would lose her battle against the disease. Sophia was just four-years-old when she died.

The world of pediatric cancer is not pretty. Your world is turned upside down as you watch your child suffer from the treatments and suffer from the cancer. It is cruel to watch the innocence torn from your child as he or she is thrust into a world of chemotherapy, nausea, hair loss, loss of appetite, hearing loss, radiation, stem cell transplants, hospitals, needles, blood transfusions, and other endless cruelties. No child should ever endure this kind of suffering. No parent should have to watch his or her child endure this journey, feeling helpless against the disease.

Thankfully there are organizations like CURE Childhood Cancer that are doing their part to find a cure for childhood cancer and to help the children and families who are in the middle of the fight. We were very grateful to them for the meals they brought once a week to the inpatient cancer unit in the hospital. It gave us a much-needed break from the hospital food, especially since we were there for weeks at a time. The volunteers were always there with a smile and a reassuring hug if needed as we exited the hospital rooms that had become our home. They also arranged for a Thanksgiving meal to be brought to the hospital, which all of us families appreciated. It felt terrible to be in the hospital during a holiday while Sophia was getting a stem cell transplant. When we were lucky enough to not be in the hospital for inpatient treatments, we always loved the snacks CURE brought to the outpatient clinics. The staff of CURE knew the families and would always come over with a hug and kind words whenever they saw us in the clinic. CURE also provided great gatherings, like the yearly family picnic and the holiday parties for the children. Sophia laughed so hard running the toddler trot at last year’s picnic and that laughter is a priceless memory. The glee she felt at their holiday party as she decorated cookies and a gingerbread house meant so much to us, since she had been placed on hospice. We knew it was going to be her last Christmas. After Sophia died, we attended a retreat for families that had lost a child to cancer that CURE had helped to sponsor.

CURE is a fantastic organization that is worthy of support. They fund pediatric cancer research to help bring an end to the disease. As we’ve personally seen, they do a lot for local pediatric cancer families. The money donated will go towards a good cause. We’ve seen the good that they do and we are grateful that they were around for us. Your donations will help to make sure that other families will get the same help and support that our family received. Your donations will help to find a cure so that no more children will die from this terrible disease.

Shirley Langford

Sophia’s Mom


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